About us Blog My Volunteering Experience Introduction My name is Melanie Chapman and I’ve spent the last two weeks on work experience with Creative Youth Network in their marketing department. I’ve been trying to get into a creative industry so this has been a really great opportunity for me. Creative Youth Network are a charity who work with young people, giving them help and support and access to services. They provide training, creative courses, emotional and career support and access to alternative education. What have I been doing? My schedule for the past two weeks has been fantastic. They’ve kept in mind my need to gain experience with lots of different kinds of tasks, both so I can have the best chance of getting the kind of job I want and because it allows me to try different things to see what I enjoy. I’ve had the chance to try writing in lots of different styles, including writing posts on social media, maintaining the website and writing blog posts. I’ve also had the chance to pop in to a few of the sessions that Creative Youth Network run and interview the young people to see what their experiences are. I’ve been to sessions not only at The Station but at Hillfields and Kingswood as well. They’re all different, but the focus on providing the best experience for young people is the same. Hillfields had more of a traditional youth centre vibe, Kingswood seemed more like a converted academy and The Station feels like a modern youth centre. In every instance where I talked to young people about the courses they were doing, they were uniformly positive. They all felt that being on these courses had helped them in some way, and that was great to see. What have I learnt? Being a part of their marketing department has allowed me to practice different aspects of writing and taught me how important it is to keep all communication from the company in one tone of voice and style, so the same feeling is invoked each time. It took a couple of days to get Creative Youth Network’s style right, but the more I do it the easier it is. It also reassures me that whatever company I end up working for, I’ll be able to pick up their style of writing quite quickly. I’ve also found that I enjoy being able to do different kinds of writing, it makes every day different and interesting. It was very insightful to able to create posts on social media from the viewpoint of a company rather than a person. Not only did it teach me more about tone and style but I gained knowledge about what gets the most responses. What makes a young person want to read/interact with a post? It might seem self explanatory, but again the more I did it, the easier it was. I’ve also realised that I don’t want to be a journalist! Talking to young people was great, but having to ask them the right questions to get good responses from them was difficult and I often felt awkward. How has this been different? I’ve learnt a lot about how different it is to work for a small company or charity. Everything is smaller, the number of people, the budget, the offices. This creates its own challenges but also means that each person has a more varied job. I don’t think I would have gained experience with so many tasks if I had volunteered at a larger company. I also like the immediacy of it all. When a piece of writing is assigned we begin working on it straight away and it can be written, edited and finished in a day or two. There is always more to do! It has been lovely to work in a more relaxed and creative environment. My last job was is a large, open-plan office which was far too chaotic and loud for my liking. A smaller space definitely makes it easier to concentrate. The people here have all be really friendly and there is a lovely office environment. Conclusions Overall, this has been a valuable opportunity that I’m grateful to have received. I’ve learnt a lot about writing and marketing in general and a bit more about how creative industries work. Before I started I had no idea what to expect and no real idea about what creative job titles actually translated to in terms of work. Now I know what I should be applying for to get job I want. It’s made me really happy to see all the work Creative Youth Network does for young people. As a young person myself who gained this opportunity through being on a Prince’s Trust course, I know how much of a difference it makes to have access to services when you’re struggling. If organisations like Creative Youth Network and Prince’s Trust didn’t exist then young people would have very few options. These organisations step in when young people are struggling with school or work, or they have mental or physical health problems, and they go out of their way to give them choices. They aim to allow young people to discover their worth so they can reach their potential, and feel capable achieving their goals. That’s what they did with me. So many of the young people I’ve interacted with here have gained a confidence and belief in themselves and their skills through these courses that they could never achieve at school. And all the youth workers I’ve interacted with have all gone above and beyond. They believe in what they do and know that everything they do makes a difference in the lives of young people. Thank you for giving me this opportunity Creative Youth Network, and thank you for all the work you do.